back to news Nov. 10, 2020

FRIT offers new major: French and Francophone Studies

Hagerty Hall courtyardHagerty Hall, home to the Department of French and Italian.


The Department of French and Italian has added another interdisciplinary major to its repertoire: French and Francophone Studies.

The new major gives students interested in studying French and Francophone cultures more flexibility and multiple pathways toward completion, and it encourages them to pick up a second major in a complementary field.

While the standard French major requires at least 27 of its 30 credit hours to be from courses taught in the department, the new major allows students to count up to 12 credit hours from classes taught in English, nine of which can come from 10 other departments across the College of Arts and Sciences. Considering those nine credit hours can double-count toward a second major or toward GE requirements, the new French and Francophone curriculum allows students a clearer track to double major. Students who have already declared a French major or minor but who wish to switch to the French and Francophone Studies major should speak with their advisor in French.

“We have outstanding affiliated faculty members teaching French and Francophone Studies across the College every semester,” said Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in French Jennifer Willging of the Department of French and Italian. “We really wanted to leverage all this incredible knowledge and let our students benefit from it.”

The French and Francophone Studies major appeals to a wide variety of students. Because classes from other fields count toward the major, French minors could upgrade to a major in French and Francophone Studies without a significant increase in their course load. The major is also inviting to students who want to study French and Francophone societies and cultures from a highly interdisciplinary perspective. Finally, the major is also geared toward native and near-native French speakers who would like a wider variety of courses to choose from.

The departments that offer courses taught by affiliated faculty that count toward the French and Francophone Studies major are: Comparative Studies; Film Studies; Geography; History; History of Art; International Studies; Medieval and Renaissance Studies; Near Eastern Languages and Literatures; Philosophy; and Political Science.

“Majoring in French is already interdisciplinary in that students study culture, literature, film and history, as well as language.” Willging said. “The new French and Francophone Studies major is taking what’s already interdisciplinary and making it even more so because it offers students exposure to faculty who specialize in fields such as political science, international studies and philosophy.”

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